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Marine Science Resource Ship offers free tours this Saturday

Crewmembers aboard the research vessel Robert C. Seamans perform their scientific duties at sea. The vessel, described as a "sailing laboratory," will hold an open house for the general public this Saturday, September 17th, from 9 to 11 a.m., and from 12 to 3 p.m.  [courtesy photo]

Can you imagine a sailing laboratory? Are you interested in learning about how science is done at sea? Then this is your chance to visit a floating laboratory that is in Pago Pago harbor right now! The Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Robert C. Seamans is offering free tours of their vessel to the public this Saturday, September 17th from 9am to 11am and 12pm to 3pm. The crew invites everyone, both young and old, to tour their ship, one of the Sea Education Association’s sailboats.  The Robert C. Seamans is a 134-foot steel brigantine and is the most sophisticated oceanographic research/sailing school vessel ever built in the United States.

The crew regularly tailors their tours to the interests of the audience; for example they always offer hands-on tours for the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Marine Science Program, where students are able to see all kinds of interesting new information from their most recent cruises, and gain firsthand experience with the scientific equipment used to collect that information.  From water quality to marine seafloor exploration to using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV, the marine equivalent of a drone), the SSV Robert C. Seamans has it all!

Sea Education Association (SEA) has been offering free tours to the community each year they are in port in Pago Pago.  Through their generosity, citizens have been able to see first-hand how scientific data is collected while at sea, and learn about how a traditional square rigged sailing vessel works.  Since the SSV Robert C. Seamans sails throughout the Pacific, they have many fascinating biological samples on board that the public can see, including rare deep-sea fish, pelagic jellyfish, and much more. 

SEA began visiting American Samoa in 2014 when they added a new cruise track through Kitibati, where they visit the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.  At 157,626 square miles in size, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is one the largest marine protected areas in the world. PIPA is one of Earth’s last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems due to its remoteness and lack of a permanent human presence, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.  This year, the PIPA cruise departed from Honolulu, Hawai‘i and sailed through Kitibati, ending in Pago Pago this August.  Prior to the PIPA trip, the Robert C. Seamans sailed from Tahiti to Hawai‘i on the Pacific Reefs Expedition voyage, and carried two residents of American Samoa aboard as guest researchers. 

The crew of the Robert C. Seamans welcomes the public on board this Saturday and will be happy to share their experiences throughout the Pacific Ocean! For more information, contact ASCC-ACNR Sea Grant Extension Agent Kelley Anderson Tagarino at 258-2967.